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Thread: Mediterranean Cruise VIII: Pyrenees - Barcelona (50 p.)

  1. #1

    Default Mediterranean Cruise VIII: Pyrenees - Barcelona (50 p.)

    Mediterranean Rail Cruise 2008
    from Milano Centrale to Barcelona Sants by local train

    Part 8:
    Perpignan, Ligne de Cerdagne ("le petit train jaune"/"le canari"), the Spanish border station Port Bou and Barcelona underground stations, August 21-23

    The video for this part:


    After arriving at Perpignan shortly before 11 p.m. on August 21 a train awaited us... going to the starting point of our trip!

    Yes, it's a Talgo, EN (11)273 "Pau Casals" from Barcelona to Milano and Zürich

    A co-production presented by:

    After a short night spent on a square in town because the station sadly closed for the night we took the 6:34 train to Villefranche-Vernet-les-Bains.

    This is the terminal of the "little yellow train" to Latour-de-Carol, the famous meter gauge railroad into the Pyrenees. Uphill we went by Stadler GTW, but there are only two of these modern units in service forming one train. Since we didn't have that much time and wanted to take pictures of trains as well we spontaneously chose Thučs-les-Bains as destination. It's a few stations away, but not even close to half of the line. Sadly you can't just get out at small stations to your liking, because the engineer passes through them unless he is informed in advance or somebody is waiting.

    Our choice was good, here you can get a good sense how the railroad winds uphill along the valley. The first train downhill is approaching (*2), below the road snakes downwards.

    This train as well as all following were formed of nice old EMUs dating from 1910 but rebuilt several times.

    A family got out, but obviously they went too far and just wanted to get back a station.

    25 minutes later the next uphill train followed, in the background the typical water tower (?) of a former guard hut.

    Our train back down, for the ride see the video.

    At Olette-Canaveilles-les-Bains most trains are crossing.

    As you can see everything is approached convienently, our train staff is still gossiping with the personnel of the other train.

    We still caught our local to Perpignan

    Z 7504 took us both ways on this line

    We continued with the TER at 13:40 pulled by BB 9313

    We have reached the last country of the trip: Spain!
    The standard gauge tracks of Portbou station

    Hey, shunter, no parking allowed here! ;-D

    Impressions of the nice Portbou station shed

    During the day night train "Costa Brava" Portbou - Madrid is parked here

    How old this sign might be?

    A RENFE class 252 and a 269, which somehow strongly reminds me of India... ;-)

    Open door for SNCF

    The TER was being pushed back to Cerbčre on the other side of the mountain, SNCF-trains are arriving at Portbou but just depart from Cerbčre, while the opposite is the case with RENFE-locals.

    Here you can see the regauging facility for Talgos and the broad gauge (1668 mm) track leading across the standard gauge.

    Window cleaning of an EMU, but this wouldn't be the one taking us to Barcelona. Thankfully we had an earlier train than we had thought, leaving at 4 p.m.

    Now I went to buy tickets, there was just one counter open and quite a line, but it progressed quickly, and the ticket cost less than 10 Euros for a 2 1/2 hour ride...

    When I returned the weather became a little unfriendlier for the first time, and the light coming out of the tunnel didn't turn out to be a freight, just a single 269.

    The new RENFE-logo

    This one may be still from Franco's times...

    A little RENFE-parade, 250-015 inclusive

    In the meanwhile 269-226 had coupled to a freight train but it didn't depart before us.

    Our local train rake consisting of the omnipresent class 440R arrived, sadly really local train because the seats were of the very hard local variety, there is also a medium distance version in existance.

    At least double traction

    Which was necessary because masses were waiting while it still had to go to Cerbčre and back. We entered the first car and somehow few people found it, we had a lot of space during the whole trip.

    Before 7 p.m. we had finally reached our destination! And what we liked even better in our fatigued state: the four star hotel right on top of the station, our room was one of the windows to the far right.

    From our room we listened to a parade certainly held for us, then a politician held a speech and even salutes were fired! ;-D

    Barcelona Sants is an underground station which seems quite friendly due to the redesign, this is also noted during photography because you need "sunshine" white balance unlike with usual artificial light sources.
    On one of the long distance platforms, only accessible through security barriers, stood a Siemens Velaro as AVE to Madrid on the new standard gauge high speed line.

    Impressions from Sants station

    At Passeig de Grŕcia a station away I met this Civia, serving line 10 airport - Estació de França (the ç is important, on some automated displays it doesn't show up ;-))

    Evening at Sants shortly before to departure of night train Estrella 923 "Galicia" to A Coruńa and Vigo

    Now finally some policemen came on another platform and told us to stop taking pictures. I shouted over to them that no permit is needed anymore and waved them over, as a consequence they left. Because: a) my Spanish is so perfect (two years in school and an EU-project at Bilbao), they understood me and thought to themselves "damn, he is informed!", or b) they were too lazy to get to our platform - you decide... ;-D
    In the end I was disappointed about the lame performance, I would have expected more and had printed out the info from ADIF for nothing. http://www.adif.es/comunicacion/fotoaficionados.html

    The platform numbers were particularly fascinating...

    People arranging themselves comfortably in their sleeping compartments

    We will meet more of these class 450 double deck EMUs

    At 8 p.m. the night train departed, see you at the next part, we will go to the playa! The mobile weather report predicted rain, but will it be true? ;-)

    Up-to-date on Twitter: https://twitter.com/raildata_info @raildata_info
    Roni's trip reports and videos:


  2. Default

    Great pictures! I especially enjoyed seeing pictures of the station in Portbou. It brought back great memories. In the 1990s I got stuck in Portbou for a whole day. Turns out its a picturesque little town with a great beach in the harbour.

  3. #3



    Thanks! :-)

    Up-to-date on Twitter: https://twitter.com/raildata_info @raildata_info
    Roni's trip reports and videos:


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